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NWF Green Hour

Commentary on what parents should know about and can do to counteract common "nature deficit disorders" in our TV-watching, video game-playing children including encouraging a daily "Green Hour" of outside play and learning. A program of the National Wildlife Federation

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Outdoor Recreation Programs -- A High Return on Investment

Green Hours Offer a 30-to-One Return in Keeping Youth Out of Trouble

There is a considerable base of research demonstrating how too much television watching contributes to youth violence and crime. This is a particular concern for teens who are become independent of their parents and strike out on their own more often than not. They lose a sense of their own reality, responsibility and the ability to relate to people at many levels. The National Wildlife Federation recognizes this and emphasizes teen programs such as its Earth Tomorrow institutes. Importantly we support parents in the need to get children of all ages outside an hour a day -- a Green Hour.

It may be obvious, but parents should not overlook the local park and recreation department!

Bob Jennings, a naturalist for Milwaukee Recreation has developed a eye-opening calculation showing how the local park, recreation and nature center programs in the City can keep kids happy and healthy and trouble-free by saturating them with interesting active and intriguing programs for about $16 per week. Bob's compares this modest and remarkably "worth it" expense to the $30,000 per year that it costs to incarcerate a juvenile. Take a look!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Healing Gardens

Visiting hours = Green hours!

When you think about time outdoors, your first thought may be of the benefits of exercise or even as a way to learn about backyard wildlife and nature. But on a recent visit to a local hospital, we noticed a small garden in a courtyard next to one of the waiting areas. It had a sign -- "healing garden" -- and its purpose was to help with patient recovery. How? By just sitting in it -- or next to it.

The soothing nature of vegetation, flowers, stones, dripping water, the occasional bird or butterfly and a quiet bench, is all it takes to put one's mind and body into healing mode. Visiting hours can be green hours! Read More!

Monday, October 17, 2005


A Calming Hour

Most people have an intuition that spending a little time in nature can reduce stress and anxiety. The emerging field of environmental psychology certainly supports this. Taking a walk outside, gardening, and most other outdoor activities -- in calming green spaces -- can lower blood pressure, improve mental health and enhance ons'e overall sense of well being. It can even help with panic attacks.

Here is a list of suggestions for the adults who may need a Green Hour themselves to relieve anxiety. Read More!

Monday, October 10, 2005


Preschooler Outdoors Made Easy

Our youngest students offer great potential

The North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension has developed a remarkable tool for educators who want to make the benefits of nature and the outdoors more available to children. Importantly, they can green-up any preschool program on a small budget. This guide is available in PDF form and is free. (six pages) Check It Out

Monday, October 03, 2005


Start Early -- Keep Going

A 2004 Harris Interactive survey by the Outdoor Industry Foundation makes two points incredibly well. First, 90% of adults who regularly engage in outdoor activities started the practice in their childhood years ages five to eighteen. This surely supports the idea that a daily Green Hour of outdoor activity will have a lasting effect.

Second, in current times of high stress levels, obesity and related problems, the survey helps to document what people think of the benefits of outdoor activity. Bottom line: better mental and physical health. For a summary of the Outdoor Industry report, click here.

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